Is Pork Better Than Beef?

Pork and beef are two types of meat that are rich in protein, widely available and relatively low in cost. Pork and beef can both be used in a variety of recipes, and you may wish to substitute one type of meat for another due to the similarities in their nutritional characteristics. However, pork and beef do have some differences in terms of nutrition, so look at the nutrition facts closely if you are on a strict diet plan.

Pork loin on white plate
Sliced pork loin on a plate. (Image: Magone/iStock/Getty Images)

Calorie Comparison

If you are trying to lose weight, pork is a better choice than beef, because pork is lower in calories. A 4 oz. serving of pork contains 140 calories, while a 4 oz. serving of beef provides 200 calories. If you ate a 4 oz. serving of pork instead of beef every day, you'd save 420 calories over the course of a week. However, this is unlikely to make a big difference in your weight, as it takes a deficit of 3,500 calories to lose weight. If you are attempting to gain weight, beef would be the better choice.

Fat Content Comparison

Beef and pork vary widely in fat content. A 4 oz. serving of beef provides 11 g of fat, with 4.5 g of saturated fat, while a 4 oz. serving of pork contains 4.5 g of fat, with 1.5 g of saturated fat. If you are following a low-fat diet, pork would be the better choice for you, but you should note that restricting fat may produce a slower rate of weight loss than restricting carbohydrates, according to research from the July 2008 edition of "The New England Journal of Medicine."

Protein Content Comparison

Beef and pork do not have significantly different concentrations of protein. Beef offers slightly more protein, with 24 g in a 4 oz. portion, while pork offers 22 g in a 4 oz. serving. If you are following a high-protein diet, beef would be the optimal choice. High-protein diets may be useful for gaining muscle or losing weight; a study published in the February 2002 issue of the "Journal of the American College of Nutrition" suggests that high-protein diets enhance daily calorie burn compared to diets lower in protein. If you are following a low-protein diet, pork would be the better choice.

Carbohydrate Content Comparison

Both pork and beef are quite low in carbohydrates; a 4 oz. serving of pork contains 1 g of carbohydrates, while a 4 oz. serving of beef contains no carbohydrates. Unless you are following a very strict diet or consuming large quantities of pork or beef, the difference is not significant.

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